The African Union has started a troop surge to end the Lord's Resistance Army’s 25-year war on civilians in East and Central Africa, weeks after the video “Kony 2012” attracted more than 100 million viewers on the Internet.
The force includes an estimated 5,000 soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, along with communications and logistic support from the United States, and civilian escorts from the U.N.
A regional task force will be headquartered in Yambio, South Sudan, and will allow for free movement of troops across borders.
Torture, hacking off limbs and sex slavery have been widely reported.
The new effort to capture Kony seeks to improve on an operation launched in 2008 by Congo, southern Sudan and Uganda with U.S. intelligence and logistical support. That campaign centered on Garamba National Park in northeastern Congo, where Kony was suspected to be hiding.
But poor coordination, a shortage of ground troops and a lack of sustained air power across the vast dense jungle doomed the mission to failure and even led to a spike in civilian murders and abductees by the Lord's Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
In October, the Obama administration sent 100 special forces troop, up from 17 during the initial campaign, to help with information-sharing, coordination and strategy, but not combat operations.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has contributed $5 million to boost telephone coverage in the region, and the U.S. has donated $17 million for helicopter and fixed-wing logistical transport – seen as vital to success considering the area’s extremely poor road network.
Following the release of “Kony 2012,” the European Union announced it was donating $12 million in humanitarian assistance, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has asked the U.S. government for additional aircraft support.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Contributions to the Communities Sports desk from readers.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc